New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (3)

#NewJerusalemIn the New Testament we no longer have a physical temple. Rather, the living temple is both Jesus (John 2) and His believers (2 Cor. 6:16). But, the Bible’s description of the old, physical temple depicts many spiritual realities today and in New Jerusalem.

The prior two posts are about the ark and its contents, described in Hebrews 9:4. Then 9:5 says, “And above it [the ark] cherubim of glory overshadowing the propitiation place.” The lid of the ark, with the propitiatory blood on it, frees us from the condemnation of falling short of the requirements of the law in the ark.

Today we certainly need forgiveness and cleansing of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. Before our initial repentance we were dead spiritually and were sinners condemned by God’s righteous requirement. We repented and believed, thus “though dead in your offenses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our offenses” (Col. 2:13).

That action took care of all offenses before our regeneration. Afterwards, 1 John 1:9 applies, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thank Him!

In New Jerusalem there is no sin nature and we will never do sinful deeds. Nevertheless, in New Jerusalem God and the redeeming Lamb are on the throne (Rev. 22:3) and they are the temple (Rev. 21:22). This is a memorial of what is portrayed by the blood on the lid of the ark in the old holy of holies.

Hebrews 9:14 declares that “the blood of Christ…[will] purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In New Jerusalem the Lamb is present as an eternal memorial, and in New Jerusalem we will “serve the living God” (Rev. 22:3).

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New Jerusalem: Dwell and Serve in God

New JerusalemThe New Testament has a living temple— God Himself and all His people. Eventually this temple will be New Jerusalem. In the Old Testament times, before our redemption and regeneration, this living temple was portrayed by a physical temple.

Revelation 7:14-15 says, “These are those who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.”

Revelation 7 is a view of life in the coming age and eternity. In this picture God’s redeemed people “serve Him day and night in His temple.” yet Revelation 21:22 tells us that John “saw no temple in it [New Jerusalem], for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”

We who will serve in the temple will serve in God, the living temple. And we will dwell in Him. And be “before the throne” in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3), supplied to serve by the flow from this throne (22:1-2).

This is New Jerusalem: we dwell in God, God dwells in us, God supplies us, and we serve God in God! Very much like the Lord’s word in John 14:20-23—we are in Him, He is in us, we love Him, the Father loves us, and He and the Father make a dwelling with us. When we love Him we are surely willing to serve, and we serve Him while dwelling in Him, in the living temple.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The New Testament Temple is Living (5)

New Testament worship is in spirit (John 4:24). It is not dependent on a physical location nor a material building. The New Testament temple is a living temple, from the Lord’s incarnation onward to New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn John 2, Jesus is the temple, in 1 and 2 Corinthians and Ephesians we are the temple, and in Revelation 21 the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple. Is this living temple the Triune God or His people? Both!

This corresponds with the Lord’s word in John 14:20. We are in the Triune God and the Triune God is in us. Thus the Triune God is the temple and we also are the temple.

This also corresponds with the epistles: we are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1, 1 Cor. 1:30) and He is in us (Rom. 8:10, Col. 1:27). We are one with Him in life, so we are one with Him to be the living temple and to be New Jerusalem.

In New Testament Greek two words are translated “temple.” In the verses in these “living temple” posts, the Greek word means the inner temple, the holy place and holy of holies, not including the surrounding structures and courtyards. This inner area is only for the priests, and today we are priests. “Jesus Christ…loves us and has released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

We are priests serving in spirit, in the living temple, fulfilling the Lord’s word in John 4:24. We will be the same in New Jerusalem. Revelation 22:3 says, “His slaves will serve Him.” The word “serve” means to serve as priests. In New Jerusalem God and the Lamb are the living temple and we are the priests serving God and the Lamb.

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

New Jerusalem: Reign Forever and Ever

Many New Testament books proclaim glory to God forever and ever. looking toward New Jerusalem the forever-and-ever city Hebrews 1:8, quoting Psalm 45, says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”

This is spoken to the Son, who is God in His divinity. His throne, the throne of New Jerusalem, is eternal, forever and ever. His reign is eternal and full of uprightness. This matches 2 Peter 3:13 which tells us that in the new heaven and new earth righteousness dwells.

New JerusalemHis eternal reign is also in Revelation 11:15, “the seventh angel trumpeted; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” This forever-and-ever reign points to New Jerusalem.

“Our Lord and His Christ” indicates two, but is followed by “He will reign” indicating one. The Triune  God is three yet one. This matches the wording in Revelation 22:1 (and 22:3)—in New Jerusalem is “the throne of God and of the Lamb”—one throne for two, with the third, the Spirit, flowing forth as the river of water of life.

The last part of Revelation 22:5 says more about this eternal reign. “And they will reign forever and ever.” “They” are God’s slaves mentioned in verse 3. We reign forever and ever by being one with the Triune God who reigns forever and ever. We are slaves, yet we reign. Today we can reign in the life which is the Lord Himself within us (Rom. 5:17); in New Jerusalem we will reign, still in this life, in a fuller way.

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God and the Lamb are the Temple

John the apostle, speaking about New Jerusalem, tells us, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22).

New JerusalemThere is no physical temple, no material “house of worship,” no “going to church,” in New Jerusalem. In this wonderful city we will worship God in God and the Lamb. Our priestly service to God will be in God and the Lamb.

Worshipping and serving God in God and the Lamb is a principle in the entire New Testament. The Lord Jesus first revealed this in John 4. The Samaritan woman asked whether the mountain of Samaria or Jerusalem is the proper place to worship. The Lord answered “an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father” (v. 21).

He continued, “An hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truthfulness, for the Father also seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness” (v. 23-24).

“An hour is coming” points to the Lord’s resurrection. That “hour” is when the resurrected Lord breathed into His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). From that time we worship in spirit. And we will continue to do so in New Jerusalem.

Yes, Christians should gather together (in small or large numbers) for our priestly service to God. But the physical location is not important; it could be outside or in a home or in another building. The important matter is to worship in spirit. God is spirit and our worship in spirit is in oneness with Him.

In New Jerusalem we will all be together in resurrection and will have no need of a physical location. There we will all worship God and the Lamb in the city’s temple, the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem (2)

Revelation 22:3b says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.” Looking at our service now gives us insight into how we will serve in New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemThe foundation of our serving is what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death and resurrection. He “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).

Hebrews 9:14 also links the blood of Jesus and our serving, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Part of Revelation 7:14-15 is “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.” The washing of our robes, our conduct, is by receiving the forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus Christ.

This washing of sins has two stages. One is by our repenting at the initial time of our salvation. The other is throughout our Christian life by our confessing of sins for His cleansing (1 John 1:9). The first brings us before the throne and the second keeps us before the throne so  that we may serve God—both now and in New Jerusalem.

In Romans 1:9 Paul says, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit…” In Philippians 3:3 we “…serve by the Spirit of God…” Serving as priests must be in the Spirit with our human spirit. Without this mingled spirit, whatever we do is not serving God as a priest.

In John 4:24 Jesus says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.” There is no serving God in worship without the mingled spirit.

Our serving now, and in New Jerusalem, is based on redemption and in spirit.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

God’s Slaves Serve in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRevelation 22:3b says, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him.”

There are three New Testament Greek words often translated “serve.” The word in Revelation 22 means to serve as a priest, to serve in worship of God. To get a better grasp of verse 22:3, let’s look at other verses with this same word.

In Matthew 4:10 Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Here worship and serving are linked, and restricted by “only.” This quotation surely matches what we will do in New Jerusalem.

In Acts 7:7 Stephen speaks about God’s actions with Israel. In verse 7 he said repeated God’s word, “After these things [slavery in Egypt] they will come forth and serve Me as priests in this place.” God’s desire was that the whole nation serve as priests. This was thwarted by their worship of the golden calf and only the house of Aaron served as priests.

The redemption and resurrection of Jesus Christ brought us back to God’s desire. He “released us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6). This action is for this age, the coming age, and eternity. The accomplishments of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection point to New Jerusalem.

In Acts 24:14 and 27:23 Paul declares that he serves God. He was serving and we too should serve, based on the Lord having made us priests to His and our God and Father. Whether I serve or not is not based on how I feel but on the Lord’s doing. More on this in the next post; may we experience this from now unto New Jerusalem.

 

The Wonderful Jesus Christ in Revelation   6-9 Brings Us to New Jerusalem

The central theme of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus. This wonderful One is seen throughout Revelation caring for God’s interests on earth, which consummate in the new creation with New Jerusalem at its center. Here are some aspects of His care in Revelation 6–9, which bring us to New Jerusalem.

In Revelation 5 the Lamb is declared to be the only one in the universe worthy to open the seven seals. In 6:1 He opens the first, and in 6:2 the gospel is released. By responding to this gospel we are on the path to New Jerusalem. Thank Him for giving us this open door!

In 7:9 a great multitude, those purchased (5:9) “out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” are “standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” This multitude will continue before the throne of God and the Lamb in New Jerusalem (22:1).

In 7:15 this multitude serves God “day and night in His temple” just as we will serve Him as priests in New Jerusalem (22:3).

Verses 7:16-17 present the Lamb’s care for the multitude. Revelation 7:9-17 has many parallels with New Jerusalem.

In 8:3 Christ adds Himself as incense to our prayers that they be accepted as a sweet-smelling savor to God. These prayers of the believers, on earth cooperating with the heavens, open the way for the seven trumpets.

These trumpets bring forth many calamities and judgments on the negative things and people on earth (Rev. 8–9). These actions conclude with the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ in 11:15, a kingdom which continues into New Jerusalem.

The actions in Revelation 9 should lead men to repent but 9:20-21 say they did not. Sad. It is His mercy that we can repent. Repentance Puts Us on the Path to New Jerusalem.

Revelation 7 and New Jerusalem

The record in Revelation 7:9-17 parallels in several ways the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22. Part of note 2 on Revelation 7:9 in the Recovery Version New Testament says, “The record in vv. 9-17 describes in a general way the scene from the time of the rapture of the believers to their enjoyment in eternity.”

New JerusalemOne striking parallel is “These are those who…have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14) and “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city” (22:14).

The result of washing in 22:14 indicates that the multitude in Revelation 7 will be constituents of New Jerusalem.

Another strong similarity is “They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night…” (7:15) and “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” (22:3). Prior to the Lord’s second coming, the throne of God is in heaven, to which this multitude has been raptured (see link to note in first paragraph). In eternity the throne is in New Jerusalem, which has come down “out of heaven” to the new earth (Rev. 21:2, 10).

“They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16a) is fulfilled in New Jerusalem by the fruit of the tree of life and the river of water of life (22:1-2).

“The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them…” (7:17) matches “the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1). The shepherding in 7:17 includes the tree and river in 22:1-2 and the Lord God’s shining on us in 22:5. These parallels show that the eternal blessing in New Jerusalem are presented in a general way in Revelation 7.

Aspects of New Jerusalem in Our Daily Life

hymn on God’s eternal purpose includes creation, life, transformation, building, and New Jerusalem. It moves from Genesis 1–2 through the New Testament to New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22.
New Jerusalem

Verses 5 and 6 of the hymn, above, are about New Jerusalem. Here are many lines from these verses of the hymn with a corresponding portion from Revelation.

✦ He’s the very center, ruling on the throne:  “the throne of God and of the Lamb ” (22:1)
✦ By His light of glory, they are kept in light: “the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:5)
✦ He’s their living water, and their food supply: “a river of water of life, bright as crystal…And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month” (22:1-2)
✦ All their thirst and hunger He doth satisfy: “They will not hunger any more, neither will they thirst any more” (7:16)
✦ He’s for them the temple, in Himself they live: “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its [New Jerusalem’s] temple” (21:22), “they…serve [as priests] Him day and night in His temple” (7:15)
✦ In His constant presence: “they will see His face….the Lord God will shine upon them” (22:4, 5)
✦ Worship ever give: “His slaves will serve [as priests] Him” (22:3)

The characteristics of New Jerusalem described in these hymn verses should be spiritual (not physical) characteristics of our Christian life today. The Lord Jesus should be on the throne in us now, supplying us with living water and being our bread of life. We should walk in Him as our light (1 John 1:7), be empowered by Him (2 Tim. 2:1), be in the oneness (Eph. 4:3), behold Him (Heb. 12:2), and worship Him (John 4:24).

The characteristics of New Jerusalem in the hymn are very similar to the characteristics of a proper Christian life. The difference is not in nature but in magnitude. New Jerusalem will be much richer than today, and without the complication of sin and death.

Out of Every Tribe, Tongue, People & Nation

In Revelation 5 Jesus Christ is both the Lion and the Lamb. He is praised with the words, “You are worthy…for You were slain and have purchased for God by Your blood men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (v. 5-9). His death and purchase are to gain people for New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemIn Revelation 7:9 John saw “a great multitude which no one could number, out of every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches in their hands.”

Verse 7:13 asks, Who are these who are clothed in white? Verse 14 answers, They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Verse 15 continues, Because of this they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne will tabernacle over them.

This great multitude washed their robes, which means they received the Lord’s forgiving of sins. The end result of washing our robes is to enter New Jerusalem—“Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).

The great multitude is before the throne serving God. This is life in New Jerusalem—“the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His slaves will serve Him” (Rev. 22:3).

Thank the Lamb for dying for us and purchasing us. Thank Him that we receive forgiveness from Him. Let us go on per Revelation 22:14 to eat Him as our daily food supply and enter New Jerusalem.

Come Forward, See God’s Face, Serve Him

A review of recent posts on the priesthood:
• In Exodus 19 God stated His intention to make Israel a kingdom of priests;
• Hebrews 5–7 speak about Jesus Christ as the kingly High Priest;
• Revelation 1:5-6 and 5:9-10 tell us that Jesus Christ, through His propitiatory death, made us a kingdom of priests;
• 1 Peter 1–2 presents a process through which we are built together as a priesthood;
• 1 Peter 2 also says we are a royal priesthood telling out the virtues of the Lord;
• Revelation 20:6 speaks of priests of God and of Christ and reigning with Him.

Finally, in Revelation 22:3, 5, “…the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it [New Jerusalem], and His slaves will serve Him….and they will reign forever and ever.” Here the word “serve” means to serve as a priest.

New JerusalemTo serve as priests is to be in the presence of God in the holy of holies. Hebrews 9:8 tells us that the way into the holy of holies was not manifested in Old Testament times. But Hebrews 9–10 go on to speak of what Jesus Christ accomplished as our High Priest so that now we can come forward to the holy of holies (10:19). Ultimately, the entire city of New Jerusalem is the holy of holies. Here we see God’s face (Revelation 22:4).

By coming to the holy of holies, the priests are infused with God’s shining and thereby express Him. This matches two lines of a song in an earlier post: Saturated with His beauty, Radiate His excellence. This should be our experience today and will be our fuller experience in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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